Big decision incoming for the DUP -they could choose to sell this as a result of their ‘pressure’ -but as it will still mean NI is treated differently to GB (if only slightly) there will be pressure from TUV etc to condemn it.

That would probably be last straw for devolved gov.

“The DUP portrait of themselves as defenders of the GFA is enough to make a cat laugh enough to cough up a hairball.”~Fionnuala O’Connor☕️🥐

An excellent & accurate if not sobering piece by Fionnuala O Connor.

So many of us who want to share power & build peace across this island continue to look for a spark of genuine reconciliation from our neighbours that sadly may not materialise!

We must keep trying…

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French minister calls British plans to ditch parts of NI protocol “worrying”

France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune said on Tuesday the United Kingdom should respect its Brexit agreement with the European Union and described as worrying initiatives by London to ditch parts of the Northern Ireland protocol. “Everyone should respect their word and their signature. You can’t instrumentalise for whatever reason such serious and important matters,” Beaune said. The […]

French minister calls British plans to ditch parts of NI protocol “worrying”

President of Sinn Fein Mary Lou McDonald says Boris Johnson ‘mislead’ the Democratic Unionist Party and urges Rishi Sunak to not repeat the actions of his predecessor.

‘…start being honest, truthful and pragmatic with the DUP.’

@AndrewMarr9 | @MaryLouMcDonald

DUP and ERG Alliance Threatens Fresh Brexit Headache For Rishi Sunak

18th January, 2023

NI’s Democratic Unionist Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson gave a well-received address to the Conservative party’s staunchly pro-Brexit European Research Group of MP’s on Tuesday night.

Any alliance between the ERG, Brexit’s most uncompromising defenders in Westminster, and the DUP, which has repeatedly warned the UK government that any deal with the EU on the contentious NI Protocol must satisfy its strict demands before it agrees to the restoration of the province’s collapsed government at Stormont, could prove cumbersome for Rishi Sunak should he reach an agreement with Brussels.

Donaldson spoke at the ERG’s monthly plenary for over an hour, taking questions from Conservative MPs about the impasse over the post-Brexit treaty, PoliticsHome understands.

A Tory MP who attended the meeting said the ERG and DUP positions on the protocol, and what the UK should be prepared to accept in its negotiations with Brussels, were “indistinguishable”.

Donaldson’s appearance at the ERG meeting will serve as a reminder to the Prime Minister of the political trouble he could potentially face in the event of reaching an agreement with the European Commission.

Despite having voted and campaigned for Leave at the 2016 referendum, Sunak has struggled to convince some of the avid Brexiteers in his party that he is truly one of them, and risks accusations of making too many concessions to Brussels in a bid to strike a deal on the NI Protocol.

The DUP’s support will prove pivotal to the success of any agreement on Great Britain to the North of Ireland’s trade that avoids a hard border with the Republic of Ireland, and therefore the EU, which is politically untenable.

There has recently been a renewed optimism that the UK and EU will be able to reach an agreement on the NI Protocol prior to the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement on 10th April.

Fuck the DUP

UK and EU negotiators are preparing for several weeks of intense negotiations, with a Whitehall source yesterday telling PoliticsHome there was hope that a deal can be done by mid-February.

Speaking yesterday alongside Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said US President Joe Biden’s administration was “heartened” to see the UK and EU make “substantive progress toward a negotiated solution”, in a further sign that a deal could be close.

Ministers hope that reaching a deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has strained UK-EU relations since it came into effect at the start of last year, will persuade Donaldson’s DUP to agree to the formation of a power-sharing government in Stormont, having blocked it for nearly a year.

The treaty was agreed as part of Brexit talks with then prime minister Boris Johnson as a way of avoiding a contentious hard border on the island of Ireland. However, it did so by erecting barriers to trade in the Irish Sea, which the DUP says has undermined NI’s place in the UK.

The biggest obstacle to the DUP’s support for any deal reached in the coming weeks is likely to be the role of the ECJ, with Donaldson warning last week that his party would not support any agreement that did not restore NI’s “constitutional” place in the UK.

Currently, EU law applies in the North of Ireland by virtue of the region’s place in the single market, and disputes arising from the post-Brexit treaty are determined by the European judges. Those familiar with negotiations say it will be the trickiest issue to resolve.

With many thanks to: PoliticsHome and @adampayne26 for the original story.

Follow this link to to read the original publication: DUP and ERG Alliance Threatens Fresh Brexit Headache For Rishi Sunak

BREXIT and the DUP has guaranteed there is no path back to the previous NI status quo before Brexit


As with so many Brexit problems it is always someone else’s fault. In the case of the North of Ireland, blame lies not with those such as David Frost, Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiator, who signed the deal, but with Remainer opponents who “forced” them into it.

This is the justification for continued intransigence in the dispute over the NI protocol, through which Frost and Johnson eroded the province’s constitutional integrity within the UK to maximise the Brexit freedoms for the British mainland. Outfoxed by Dublin and outgunned by the EU, they agreed that the North of Ireland would become a discrete EU jurisdiction with a Brexit Sea Border in the Irish Sea.

Tories, and NI’s unionist parties, have been trying to rewrite the deal ever since — aided by the EU’s overly zealous implementation of border checks on goods from Britain. The row has resulted in political stasis within the North of Ireland and the collapse of its power-sharing executive in Stormont. Relations were further poisoned when Johnson unveiled legislation unilaterally abrogating the Good Friday Agreement (GFA)

Suddenly, there is optimism that under Rishi Sunak a reset of relations might allow a new settlement. The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, and Chris Heaton-Harris, NI Secretary of State, are working with Maroš Šefčovič’s team at the European Commission to find areas for agreement. Common ground on relaxing the border checks is close, though this resolves only some trade issues. Leo Varadkar, the Irish premier, admits all sides “made mistakes” and has suggested shelving other planned rules. A data-sharing deal has raised hopes of “express lanes” for goods intended only for the North of Ireland, to remove the checks that deter mainland firms from selling there.

Sadly, this is the easy part. Initial worries have hardened into sovereignty arguments and led the Democratic Unionist party, cheered on by Brexit hardliners, to boycott, and so bring down the Stormont executive. Placing the North of Ireland within the EU’s single market for goods left it in Brussels’ regulatory orbit with the European Court of Justice as ultimate arbiter of issues covering VAT, trade and state aid. This pass was sold by the Brexiters.

Here lies the deeper problem: that egg cannot be unscrambled. The situation can be improved and some oversight scaled back. But there is no viable outcome under which the EU surrenders all jurisdiction. The North of Ireland will not fully regain its previous status.

So the challenge is to find enough of a fudge to break the logjam, one where the UK accepts the reality but the EU agrees to use its power lightly. Multiple ideas are advanced. There is talk of restricting the ECJ’s trade remit to goods not in the express lane. Better still would be the creation of a trade arbitration panel to settle disputes, reducing the ECJ’s status as final word. This would not resolve all issues. But without concessions Sunak will face enormous and possibly fatal internal opposition from the faction in his party that already distrusts him. So there are limits to what he can sell. This is why the EU needs to help him.

Brussels might be tempted simply to deliver the trade improvements and then wait for the possibility of a more amenable Labour government. But the Ukraine crisis has highlighted the need for European unity, which cannot wait for up to two years. The conditions for agreement are here. The UK and Ireland want a deal, Brussels sees Sunak as more reliable than his predecessors and the US is pressing for a way through.

This could be a defining issue for Sunak. Standing up to his ultras to drive through a deal that improves life for the people in the North of Ireland would show him to be a politically brave problem-solver. There are other electoral benefits. He knows voters are fed up with Brexit wrangles and want him focused on other issues.

The alternative to helping Sunak may be fresh confrontation. The legislation breaching the agreement may be in parliamentary limbo but it need not stay there.

Nor can Stormont be left idle indefinitely — not least when there are pressing economic problems to tackle. The DUP’s political misjudgments on Brexit have been epic and their intransigence legendary, but an effort to mollify them must be made. This year will be the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Joe Biden may even fly in from the US for the ceremonies. But they will feel rather hollow if the executive at the centre of that deal is still shuttered.

While Sunak must resist his hardliners, he cannot be expected to commit political suicide. He needs a solution that can credibly be presented as restoring some balance on sovereignty.

It may be that no deal can satisfy his purists or persuade the DUP back into government: to compromise would be to acknowledge a reality that Brexiters cannot accept, that the North of Ireland’s previous status is irrevocably altered. NI can never go back to the way it was before the DUP pushed NI into Brexit. Mechanisms may change but tax, state aid and sovereignty issues will still bubble up, especially if the Tories do increase regulatory divergence.

So three conditions are needed. Sunak needs the gumption to drive home a deal. Brussels must help him enough to make it worth the pain and the ultras and unionists need to accept the reality to which they were the midwives. The last may be a forlorn hope, but only once they accept there is no return to the old status quo will there be hope for a deal everyone can swallow. The DUP has guaranteed there is no path back to the previous NI status quo before Brexit.

With many thanks to the: and for the original story.

Follow this link to to find out more on this story: There is no path back to a pre-Brexit Northern Ireland:


Good Friday Agreement – Free From Sectarian Harassment

(1) Ringland is the kind of soft unionist for whom the Northern Ireland statelet was designed, who disregards the awkward fact that it wasn’t designed for nearly everyone else, and can’t understand why they don’t like it.

(2) Ringland complains that 40% of the Republic and 70% of Northern nationalists believe that the IRA’s campaign was justified and that this is a low point in the Peace Process. The Peace Process always revolved around accepting the views of the other side, not demanding they change.

(3) Ringland ignores,or is perhaps unaware of, the violence, random murders and arson used to create Northern Ireland in the first place, and which went on into the 1930s and began again in the early 1960s, until it created the Troubles. Unionist home rule failed but he ignores that.

(4) Ringland’s statement that “The moral compromises involved in the Belfast Agreement make it difficult to celebrate.” is the most anti-peace process sentiment imaginable; peace is the first and highest morality. This error goes far to explain why the process has stalled since 1998.

(5) If Ringland’s letter is representative of soft unionism’s mindset, it is the best argument that their demands to be given another shot at Home Rule Northern Ireland be politely refused.

They remember only what it pleases them to, and they have learnt nothing.

With many thanks to: Jonathan Mills for the original Tweet follow this link to read the original Tweet:


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UK government’s new legislation says it is implementing an EU regulation on border SPS controls which has effect in NI under Section 7A of the UK’s EU Withdrawal Act

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson says if the UK government’s new legislation on constructing border control posts at NI ports is about implementing the protocol, “we are utterly opposed to that”.

A Message For The DUP From Nationalists In The North

Fuck the DUP

Stop digging✅

Admit your mistake✅


And then:

Implement existing agreements✅

“71% of people in NI voted for the Good Friday Agreement”.

Good Friday Agreement (GFA) it isn’t going away you know

The same amount of MLAs back in May voted for the election of a speaker. If it was good enough in 1998, it should be good now.”

@AndrewMuirNI discusses Alliance’s priorities ahead of today’s talks.

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